The administrators of the Phoenix Sky Harbor airport are apparently considering getting rid of the TSA and replacing them with private contractors, similar to the setup at San Francisco International Airport. Read the rest
Incredible footage of the TSA line at Chicago Midway airport yesterday, which snakes out the airport atrium and into the surrounding transit hallways -- it's hundreds of yards long.
It follows news of massive layoffs at the TSA, though apparently most of the planned firings haven't happened yet, so it's only going to get worse.
The only bright spot is that the airlines themselves appear to be at the end of their tether: the lines are depriving them of passengers who must be rebooked. And, thanks to the Brussels attacks, everyone knows that the compressed packs of humans created by airport security theater are a prime target in their own right.
Good to know no dangerous breast milk got on those half-empty flights, though. Read the rest
The TSA gambled on millions of wealthy Americans opting out of its pornoscanner-and-shoe-removal process and signing up for its Precheck policy, which allows travellers to pay for the "privilege" of walking through a metal-detector with their shoes on, while their laptops stay in their bags. Read the rest
People who fear the TSA's airport body scanners might start driving more instead of flying, and that will raise the number of traffic deaths. That's the argument behind a new legal challenge filed against the Transportation Security Administration today over the much-loathed airport security scanning machines. We have blogged about them zillion times here at Boing Boing. We hate them too.
TSA guards at airports had a new weapon in their arsenal in 2014: tablets that they held up to randomly direct travelers into different lines. According to the TSA's documentation, they spent $47k developing the app that did this. In this YouTube video, Chris Pacia develops a clone of the app in a few minutes.
The implication is that the TSA is astoundingly wasteful: Kevin Burke's FOIA request reveals a total spend of up to $336k to develop and distribute the related software, and about $1m more for the actual devices and training. Use of the app was discontinued by the TSA in any case.
You know, I've been thinking about it a while, and while they obviously have travelers' safety and best interests at heart, after seeing TSA guards ostentatiously standing with their arrow apps and "swiping" travelers this way and that, I'm beginning to suspect – forgive me! – that this whole deal might have had more to do with the appearance of security than the real thing. Crazy, right? And that in the absence of any real objectives, expertise or oversight, these guys are easily taken to the cleaners by opportunistic contractors. Someone should figure out a snappy phrase to describe this "theater of security" and do something about it. [via r/PoliticalVideos] Read the rest
Carrying small pliers and screwdrivers can be helpful and comforting. When traveling without checked baggage, I feel strange leaving behind my small multitools. Being without tools is weird. Read the rest
Cary Gabriel Costello is a trans-man in Milwaukee. Two-thirds of the time when he flies, the TSA has a complete freakout over the "anomalies" his body displays on the full-body scanner. Read the rest
David writes, "TSA is out of control. We made a video compilation of some of TSA's greatest hits." Read the rest
At their sole discretion, and without any public guidelines, TSA agents can now opt you back into the full-body scanner, even if you opt out. Read the rest
Three screeners working for Covenant Aviation Security -- the TSA contractor that provides government-funded genital massages at SFO -- have been arrested for alleged participation in a scheme to smuggle "real and simulated cocaine" onto planes. Read the rest
In 2003, the TSA fined Mary Hostein of Michigan for trying to take a a jar of apple butter through airport security.
When an agent told Hostein that the spread was a liquid, and therefore subject to the TSA's 3-ounce limit, she went to another line to see if the TSA agent stationed there was just as stupid as the first. He was, and Hostein was issued a $2,000 fine. She doesn't think she should pay it. The TSA says they are going to sue her.
The TSA mandates that all checked luggage must be locked with a deliberately flawed lock that can be opened with one of a handful of skeleton keys that are supposed to be kept secret. It's been more than a year since the TSA allowed a newspaper photographer to print a high-rez photo of its universal luggage-lock keys, allowing any moderately skilled locksmith to create her own set. Ars Technica downloaded a set of key STL files from Github, printed them on a consumer 3D printer, and showed that they could gain entry to any luggage.
It's a model for what happens with any kind of law-enforcement/public safety back door: the universal keys leak and there's no way to re-key all those locks out there in the field. The FBI and UK security services are calling for backdoors in all crypto -- the code we use to protect everything from pacemakers to bank accounts. This is as neat an illustration of why that's a bad idea as you could ask for. Read the rest
The new generation of millimeter-wave body scanners from the convicted war-criminals at L-3 were supposed to replace the useless, expensive backscatter radiation machines from Rapiscan with a more robust, less privacy invasive alternative. Read the rest